When you lose a loved one, or know you are about to, the last thing on your mind is money. Unfortunately, in the wake of this loss, you will have to respond to any creditors, as well as representatives of insurance companies, your state government, the Federal government, investment companies and a host of other entities, within a timely manner.
This brief guide can help you navigate some of the financial complexities of your dear one's death.
Decide who should get Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration.
These documents give the holder authority to wrap up the deceased's financial affairs. For example, if you want to take care of the final bills and obligations of your spouse or partner, you must go to your local courthouse with a will or death certificate, and ask for proper documentation to designate you as executor or administrator of the estate.
Select a bank to open an estate account.
You may need this account to pay for funeral expenses and a memorial service, as well as to pay property taxes and income taxes. Contact the IRS to get a tax ID number for the estate, then open the bank account under that number.
Choose who will make sure all death benefits get paid.
Decide whether you, someone you have hired or a family member will look into all death benefits that are due.
Either you or the designated person will find out if there is a pension and/or an insurance policy naming a spouse or other beneficiary, or if there are veterans benefits that are owed.
In addition, you or a designated person would need to apply to the Social Security Administration for a lump-sum death benefit, and any survivor benefits that may be due.